Business Law, employment law, family law, Legal

How Much Will It Cost? Legal Reasons #67

When clients ask, “how much does a lawyer cost,” the answer can vary from $150 to $350 or more per hour. But if you’re facing a legal issue, working with a lawyer is very helpful and can affect the outcome of the case. Before hiring a lawyer, you should talk to him or her about fee schedules, flat-rate vs. hourly billing, retainer vs. contingency fees, and a ballpark estimate of the total cost based on the case.

As you consider how much a lawyer will cost, think about how much you have to spend and what the outcome is worth to you.

For example, if you’re thinking about taking legal action against a local business that did not repair your refrigerator properly, do you have enough money available to hire a lawyer, present evidence, and get the court to rule in your favor? Even if you do have enough money, is the overall cost of replacing the refrigerator or having someone else repair it worth the trade-off?

If you decide to move forward with legal action, or you need assistance with a legal matter, ask all potential lawyers that you meet with about their billing practices and fees. If the lawyer is not willing to discuss the costs with you, it’s a sign of poor client service.

Most lawyers bill under one (or several) of the following arrangements:

  • Hourly rate: this is the most common way for a lawyer to bill. This process requires careful documentation of all time spent working on documents, reviewing case files, presenting information in court, and any other tasks related to the client’s case. The client and lawyer will agree on the hourly rate before getting started with the case.
    • A lawyer’s hourly rate varies drastically based on experience, location, operating expenses, and even education.
  • Retainer fee: many lawyers require a retainer fee up front, which is something like a down payment on the case. As the lawyer works on your case, he or she will deduct the costs from the amount you paid and send you periodic invoices showing the deductions.
    • If you drop a case for which you have already paid a retainer fee, it is most likely non-refundable.
  • Flat fee: a lawyer may offer a flat fee for a specific, simple, and well-defined legal case. Examples of cases eligible for flat fee billing include uncontested divorces.
    • Before agreeing to a flat fee, make sure you understand what is covered in the agreement. It may not include filing fees or other fees associated with the legal process, so you’ll need to plan accordingly.
  • Contingency fee: a lawyer may offer this type of billing in a  personal injury case. With a contingency fee, the client doesn’t pay until the case is resolved. Upon resolution, the contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement or money awarded on behalf of the attorney’s client.
Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Pushing

I never quite know what I am going to write about until I allow myself to feel my thoughts and emotions in the morning quiet. The lessons from B.K Shivani are great reminders that when you start the day with positivity, it follows that positive things happen or one handles difficult situations with greater presence and calm.

Last Saturday, I had plenty of reason not to get up and head to the gym to do 18.1, the first of five workouts out for the Crossfit Open 2018. I was still recovering from the flu. I hadn’t gotten back into my training regimen of regular Crossfit workouts, and then there was the ever-present fear of failing in front of my peers at the Box. So many reasons NOT to workout or participate, but yet I knew it was fear in myself PRETENDING to be real reasons. It didn’t matter what my score would be, all that mattered was me SHOWING UP.

It was interesting to also hear on a new podcast (well for me anyway) that there are many of us who CHOOSE to do things as we are on a schedule yet there is NO ONE except OURSELVES pushing us to do it. There is not a day I don’t think about writing or working out. And more and more. the excuses become longer on why I CANT, WONT, OR SHOULDNT, yet time and time again I find myself at the box or in front of the laptop because if I don’t push myself then how will growth happen?

So I keep going out there, keep doing things that scrap the crap out of me, and keep just pushing. I hope you do the same.

Happy Monday!

Business Law, Legal

Which Corporate Entity Works Best?Legal Reasons #66

LLC (Most Recommended) (Most Ideal for Non-U.S. Citizens)

Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the most common and best business structure for most small businesses because LLC offers personal liability protection.

Having an LLC establishes your business as a separate legal entity — meaning members are not personally responsible for business debts and liabilities. In other words, if someone sues your business or if your business is liable to debtors, then your personal possessions, such as car or home, can’t be touched by creditors.

Also, unlike Corporations, LLCs enjoy pass-through taxation — meaning all the profits and losses are “passed through” the business to each members of the LLC. Members report their share of the LLC’s profits and losses on their individual tax returns, and any tax due is paid at the individual level.

The first thing most businesses do is form a LLC and as a business lawyer, I highly recommend having a registered LLC before you start your business.

 

C-Corporation

Corporation is also an independent legal entity, separate from the people who own, control, and manage it. Corporations can enter into contracts, incur debts, and pay taxes apart from its owners.

In other words, the Corporation itself, not the shareholders who own it, is held legally liability for the actions and debts the business incurs.

However, Corporations are more complex than other business structures because they tend to have costly administrative fees and complex tax and legal requirements. Because of these issues, Corporations are generally suggested for more serious companies.

C-Corporation is typically not suggested for most businesses to avoid double taxation. Ask me if you have any questions about this.

 

S-Corporation (Recommended for U.S. Citizens, Most Tax-Friendly)

S-Corporation is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election.

An eligible domestic corporation can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S-Corporation.

What makes the S-Corporation different from a traditional corporation (C-Corporation) is that profits and losses can pass through to your personal tax return. Consequently, the business is not taxed itself. Only the shareholders are taxed.

S-Corporation offers the best of both worlds: personal limited liability protection along with the tax benefits of an LLC.

S-Corporation is recommended for most businesses as well.

Can’t decide on which business structure is right for you?

business lawyer can help you choose the right business structure and relieve the administrative burden of registering, organizing, and forming your proper business structure with state and federal authorities.

 

 

Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

On Being Selfish

This weekend was a bit rough as my a lot of family gathered to celebrate my uncle’s 80th birthday. I am truly blessed to have a loving family that I get to share so much with, but I chose not to attend. I chose instead to use the weekend to work on a seminar and a personal essay.

On the surface, it appears shallow and career driven, yet really it was about self-care.  I have said for years that I wish to be in private practice and do more writing. This week, I get to do a presentation on business law, and I will be submitting my personal essay to my Writers Critique group .  It was one of the most satisfying weekends I could think of in terms of personal goals. I got to visit friends, family friends, personal care, but more than anything else I got to make my vision a reality. I put measurable steps forward towards being a business lawyer and a writer.

It hit me that sometimes it is important to take care part in self-care that appears selfish at the outset, but it fills you and makes you feel whole, and proud that for once instead of words, I put myself into action rather than just vision.

Self care is not selfishness. It is energy that restores me, and allows me to be the best version of myself.

Happy Monday!

Business Law, employment law, Legal

So You Want To Start a Business?Legal Reasons #66

Before starting a business in California, you should consider the multitude of legal issues that surround such a task, including choosing the right business structure (sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, or partnership), selecting the right company and/or product name, and how the business (including legal and accounting fees) will be financed, what potential liabilities you face with your proposed business, and what licenses and permits you will need.

Choosing the Right Business Entity For a California Business Start-Up.

Once you have determined that you are prepared to start your own business, you should begin the process of making your business legal. The first step should be to decide which legal structure is right for you. There are four main types: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company. Which one is right for you? A sole proprietorship may be sufficient if: (1) you have no assets; (2) your proposed business is unlikely to be a source of liability; and (3) you don’t anticipate earning more than $50,000 a year. If you do have assets that you want to protect, or if you believe your new business will generate at least $50,000 in income, then you should consider either a corporation or a limited liability company. See, S-Corporation or LLC and then discuss your impressions with a local attorney, hopefully Melissa C. Marsh. Seeing an attorney for just an hour to learn more valuable information could save you thousands down the road.

Sole Proprietor.
If you are not ready to form a corporation, or a limited liability company, you can simply remain a sole proprietor. To start a business as a sole proprietor, all you need to do is get: (1) a taxpayer identification number ( EIN ), (2) a fictitious business name, (3) a local city business license, (4) a seller’s permit if you will be selling taxable goods, and (5) other city or state permits required for your particular business. Prior to selecting a fictitious business name, it is important to make sure the name is available.

Partners.
If you are planning to go into business with one or more other individuals, get a commitment — an agreement that sets forth your planned relationship, expectations, and financial commitment. If you are forming a corporation, make sure there is a shareholder buy-sell agreement in place. If you are forming a limited liability company, make sure the Operating Agreement contains buy-sell provisions. If you plan to operate as a general partnership, ask yourselves if the additional co-owners are merely going to contribute products and/or services as opposed to money. If so, consider forming a single owner business (sole proprietorship, corporation, or single member LLC) with contractual agreements with those who are to provide products and/or services. If a party later fails to perform, then you can typically find a replacement. If you are going to operate as a partnership, then make sure you execute a written partnership agreement that contains provisions addressing how each partner can leave the business.

It is always best to start a business on your own, rather than with partners. If co-ownership is essential, then make sure you have a well written partnership agreement that: (1) calls for the formation of a corporation or limited liability company if a certain goal is met, and (2) contains buy-sell provisions that provide for the buyout of any co-owner at a set price in the event the co-owner fails to perform, becomes disabled, dies, files for bankruptcy, or becomes involved in a divorce. Most owners of a business never intend, or expect, to become partners with their co-owner’s spouse, but that is exactly what can happen if you don’t have a well prepared buy-sell agreement executed by all of the co-owners.

Corporation. To determine if a corporation will best suit your needs, I will cover in the next blog post.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

The Unfinished Me

It is hard to believe that we are already in the middle of February, the days get faster and faster, and I cannot let go of this nagging feeling to go, go, go! There is a constant energy inside me which pushes me to be the best version of myself, and I am not satisfied with my progress in some matters such as my writing and being in service. Each day feels as if I am playing catch up, yet it is not an emotion of putting myself down but pushing myself forward.

There are many around me suffering me, and it hits me that life is a treasure to be treasured and instead of focusing on what I don’t have. I get to celebrate my blessings. If I am being completely honest, it is not always easy but more and more I set myself up ways to win by just showing up, my having a morning routine that feeds me emotionally, physically and spiritually.

It has become a pleasure to take in the mornings where I sit in silence and contemplate my day, and that nervousness inside me that used to hold me back from jumping into the best version of myself now propels to take ever more chances.  I finally get so many of my father’s lessons, and more and more I realize that a Sabarwal man does not take things or people for granted. He gets to leave the world better than he found it. So off I got to another day.

Happy Monday!